SHPE Celebrates the Successful Passage of the Competitiveness Bill

(City of Industry, CA) – With nearly 50 years of experience in diversifying and strengthening the STEM field, SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) applauds Congress for enacting the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 on a broad bipartisan basis. This bill is an unprecedented investment to our nation’s workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and will undoubtedly bolster U.S. global competitiveness in innovation by providing the tools to break STEM barriers.

We are thrilled the CHIPS and Science Act dedicates crucial funding for the National Science Foundation to strengthen and grow a highly skilled innovation workforce by broadening access to STEM education and diversifying the STEM field over the next five years. Some have projected that the legislation could help add 90,000 workers in these fields by 2025.

With $81 billion in new funding authorizations for the National Science Foundation over five years, the bill will:

  • PreK-12 STEM education: Identify STEM education barriers; support research and development to improve informal STEM education; and establish a ten-year National STEM Teacher Corps pilot program to attract and retain highly skilled teachers and thus increase student participation and achievements.
  • Undergraduate STEM education: Support research and development to better align STEM education and training with workforce needs; updates the Advanced Technological Education program to establish a network of centers for science and technical education, and supports research and development to improve STEM education at community colleges; awards effective research and development practices in community colleges for STEM education, hands-on training and research experiences, and career and technical education in STEM fields; establishes a pilot program to develop and scale up successful models for providing students with hands-on course-based research experiences.
  • Graduate STEM education: Expand requirement for funding proposals to include a mentoring plan for graduate students; supports facilitating career exploration opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; creates a requirement for funding proposals to include individual development plans and provides supplemental funding for facilitating professional development for graduate students and postdoctoral researchers; updates the Graduate Research Fellowship Program to increase the number of new graduate fellows supported annually, address workforce demand, increase the cost of education allowance, and recruit a more diverse pool of applicants; requires an evaluation of mechanisms for supporting graduate student education and training; requires a report on the need and feasibility of a program to recruit and train the next generation of artificial intelligence professionals and authorizes NSF to establish a Federal AI scholarship-for-service program, which would run in addition to existing programs such as CyberCorps Scholarship-for-Service.
  • Rural STEM education: Authorizes the National Science Foundation to support online STEM education and mentoring research; innovative approaches in STEM teaching that improve student participation and advancement, including through a pilot program of regional rural cohorts that provide peer support, mentoring, and hands-on research experiences for rural STEM educators. Directs the NSF Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) to report to Congress an assessment of NSF activities that support participation of rural students in STEM studies.

We are grateful for the strong support and big investments from Congress to further access to STEM education and diversify the STEM workforce. We celebrate this big win and look forward to becoming a resource and partner for Federal leaders during its implementation process.

ABOUT SHPE
SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) is a nonprofit organization serving and advancing Hispanics in STEM. With more than 13,000 student and professional members, SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development. To accomplish this, SHPE provides a variety of programming, services, resources, and events, including hosting the largest Hispanic STEM convention in the nation. For more information, visit http://shpe.org.

Contact:
Mariana Acuña Delgado
marianaa@shpe.org

United States Senate Unanimously Approves Resolution Supporting Latinos in STEM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2022

UNITED STATES SENATE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING LATINOS IN STEM

SHPE Collaborated with Senators Alex Padilla and John Cornyn and Representatives Tony Cárdenas and Maria Salazar, Emphasizing the Potential of Latinos in STEM and the Current Disparity in Graduation Rates and Career Success

(City of Industry, CA) — SHPE applauds the United States Senate for unanimously approving Senate Resolution 640, which expresses “support to increase the number of Latino students and young professionals entering careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.” The bipartisan resolution was sponsored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). The House of Representatives has a companion Resolution (H.Res. 1105) pending its consideration that was introduced by Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and María Elvira Salazar (R-FL).

The resolution states that the Senate—

  1. supports the goal of increasing the number of Latino individuals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (in this resolution referred to as ‘‘STEM’’) as a way to promote economic empowerment and sustainability, not only in their community but in the overall economy of the United States;
  2. supports increasing the representation of Latino individuals in STEM fields to enhance and improve representation and improve performance in the STEM workforce, which will help—
    1. develop talented and capable STEM workers;
    2. reduce the dependence of the economy of the United States on foreign workers; and
    3. secure the future of the United States as a leader in STEM;
  3. encourages increased Federal support for initiatives aimed at boosting the number of Latino students who pursue STEM education and career paths, particularly engineering; and
  4. recognizes the important role that Hispanic Serving Institutions and all colleges and universities must play in order to achieve this goal of increasing Latino individuals in STEM.

“SHPE is incredibly grateful to Senators Padilla and Cornyn, for their leadership and for considering our ideas as they worked to secure Senate passage of this important resolution. Their commitment to the success of Hispanics in STEM will move our nation forward and improve the lives of all Americans,” said SHPE CEO Chris Wilkie. “Coupled with the pending House Resolution introduced by our champions, Reps. Cardenas and Salazar, official statements, like this one, made at the federal level, will not only drive competition and innovation in the STEM industry, but will also have a positive effect on this important demographic for generations to come.”

“Our collective prosperity depends on expanding opportunities for all students – from every background – to study and succeed in the critical science, technology, engineering and math fields,” said James Brown, Executive Director of the STEM Education Coalition. “We applaud Senators Padilla and Cornyn for getting the Senate to make a clear, bipartisan statement about the importance of increasing the number of Latinos in STEM fields. We share the belief that Congress must step up and deliver on this important national imperative.”

Working with Congressional champions on the introduction and passage of a Congressional resolution is a part of an overall strategy SHPE began in late 2021 to ensure that it is actively involved at the federal level. “In the last few years, it has become more and more apparent that we need to be in the rooms where decisions are made.” Wilkie explains.

“The immediate recognition of the need for this Resolution by its sponsors and the fact that the U.S. Senate adopted it unanimously goes to show how critical the need is for Hispanics in STEM.” states Wilkie. “I can’t wait until the incredible gifts, brilliant minds, and innovative solutions of the Hispanic community are known, sought-after, and appreciated around the country. This is truly something we can ALL get behind.”

About SHPE

SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) is a nonprofit organization serving and advancing Hispanics in STEM. With more than 13,000 student and professional members, SHPE’s mission is to change lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development. For more information, please visit https://www.shpe.org/

CEO Chris Wilkie is available for interviews.

Contact: Jen Linck
jenl@shpe.org
703-732-6701

Bipartisan resolution aims to get more Latinos in STEM

Congress is formally adopting a bipartisan effort to diversify the STEM industry and encourage more Latinos to pursue a career in science and technology.

Jesus Ojeda earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2019 and a Master’s in Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering in 2020, both from the University of Southern California (USC).

“I think we all had the dream of becoming an astronaut and secondly, growing up in a small town in México we were close to the airport so I would see the airplanes land and take off,” said Ojeda about his motivation to pursue an engineering career.

Ojeda’s hard work led to several internships, including one with NASA. He currently works as a senior systems engineer at Raytheon in Goleta.

Ojeda said it was not an easy journey.

“Where was the dean’s office? Where was the financial office? So mainly not knowing anything, and not having anyone in my family that could guide me through the process,” explained Ojeda.

It’s a reality California’s first Latino senator, Alex Padilla, also faced while studying mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“Latinos tend to come from schools that maybe aren’t sufficiently funded. I remember being, once upon a time, being an English learner and trying to overcome some language, not just math, barriers to be able to compete in college,” said Senator Padilla.

The U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan resolution to support Latinos pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“How are we encouraging more young Latinos to pursue STEM education as you go from high school to college and of course, more Latino students to complete a STEM education and enter STEM fields working as engineers and scientists in so many areas,” added Senator Padilla. “This resolution is the first step of putting Congress on record that this is a formal goal and objective.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, Hispanics were 18% of the nation’s workforce. However, a Pew Research Center study in 2021 found that Latinos only make up 8% of STEM jobs.

“Breaking through that first generation and opening that pathway empowers that whole family but in addition to that it also provides a whole other quality of life,” said Sonia Martinez, the assistant vice-president for advancement and marketing for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).

Pew Research Center found that the average annual salary for non-STEM jobs in 2019 was $46,900 whereas STEM jobs paid around $77,400.

Of course, some STEM jobs pay much more. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers can make more than $150,000.

The resolution is looking to push colleges and universities to do more.

“We are great advocates of having our students do research, even as undergraduates, working with a faculty member so they can get excited and see the application of all this math and science that they are studying,” said Martinez.

Beyond academic retention, it is relying on professional organizations founded and run by Latinos.

“Something that really helped me overcome these challenges was being part of organizations such as MESA and SHPE, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers,” added Ojeda.

SHPE has a program to better inform Latino parents about STEM careers, and they also have grants for those interested in hosting events to inspire young Latinos.

Every year, they organize a national conference to better connect students with companies and schools.

“We were able to give out over $1 million in scholarships this past fiscal year which was the largest amount for us in one year, so we are excited to beat that next year,” highlighted Monique Herrera, the chief external relations officer for SHPE. “We also bring together 300 companies, universities that are looking to promote opportunities for graduate school, as well as internships, fellowships, co-ops and full-time job offers.”

Senator Padilla and Ojeda both agreed that having mentors along the way was key to their success.

“That godfather, padrino [godfather], tío [uncle] in a friendship, mentor form that is going to be there guiding them and pulling them up as they are able to excel in their career,” said Herrera.

Ojeda said he was able to pay it forward with his own sister and plans to inspire other Latinos.

“The best way to encourage kids, first-generation students, all these Latinos to come into STEM is mainly by us professionals going out and spreading the word, letting people in our situation know that it is possible and guide them through the process,” said Ojeda.

While no specific funding has been allocated just yet, Senator Padilla said having this commitment at the federal level can lead to more K-12 and college programs as well as partnerships in the private sector.

For more information on programs by HACU, click here.

To learn more about SHPE and the resources the organization offers, click here.

Members of Congress Voice Their Support

We are so grateful to these members of Congress for taking the time to record video messages for our members attending the 2021 SHPE National Convention! Each of them voices their support of SHPE and of Hispanics in STEM, as well as, offering their advice to our audience of young, aspiring leaders in STEM.

SHPE is excited to be working closely with members of Congress to advance our mission of changing lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support, and development.